Please take a few minutes to watch this two-part interview with Rebecca Massey, the director of the Adult Literacy Program. Thanks to Mike VanGilder of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC for helping us spread the word about Literacy Together and the Adult Literacy Program.
The Adult Literacy program provides 1-on-1 volunteer tutors for English speakers whose reading, writing, spelling, or math skills are below a basic skills level. This program serves approximately 50 students per year. Students come to Literacy Together because they want to improve job prospects, help their children in school, enroll in a High School Equivalency Program, and better navigate the world around them. Adult Literacy students often have learning disabilities or differences such as dyslexia. Tutors are trained to help students navigate these learning challenges, and we also recognize the unique strategies that students have used to learn and adapt.
Although we serve a wide variety of literacy needs, there are two main tracks in the Adult Literacy program: Basic Skills tutoring and GED preparation (also called High School Equivalency / HSE preparation).
In the Basic Skills track, the program director initially assesses students to determine their reading level, learning barriers, and personal goals. When tutoring begins, students work on the specific reading, writing, and spelling issues that challenge them the most. Tutors complete a training in phonics-based and multisensory literacy instruction. They learn to create individualized Basic Skills lessons using the Orton-Gillingham methodology and use the Wilson Reading System curriculum. Tutors commit to working with their student for a minimum of 1 year. Students set their own tutoring schedule and meet 2-3 hours a week with their tutor. Every Adult Literacy lesson is tailored to the skills, needs, preferences, and goals of the student.
In the GED/HSE track, the program director (or a community partner like AB Tech) initially assesses students to determine their reading level, learning barriers, and personal goals. Students study for one subject test at a time (see the list of GED subjects here). Tutors complete a GED/HSE training and choose the subject(s) they feel most comfortable tutoring. Tutors commit to working with their student for a minimum of 6 months. Students set their own tutoring schedule and meet 2-3 hours a week with their tutor. GED/HSE textbooks are the primary resource in this track, but lessons are also tailored to the student’s skills, needs, preferences, and goals.
While the aim of our work is to meet the educational needs of our Adult Literacy students, we understand that they are also often dealing with logistical and personal obstacles. Their barriers may include lack of transportation and childcare, poverty and unstable housing, a history of addiction, post-incarceration, inadequate medical care, and frequent mental health issues. In the face of these barriers, our students appreciate the structure and regularity of tutoring; at the same time, tutoring requires flexibility, creativity, and the ability to adapt. Learn more about this program here.
Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC’s interview with Rebecca Massey
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